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Nouryon launches third ‘Imagine Chemistry’

Nouryon, the former AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, has launched the third edition of its ‘Imagine Chemistry’ collaborative innovation challenge, under which start-ups, scale-ups, university spin-outs and other potential partners are invited “to tackle chemistry-related challenges and uncover new ways to create value for customers”.


Participants can submit their ideas via the dedicated website ( until 8 March. In May, 20 finalists will be invited to an intensive three-day event at Nouryon’s RD&I centre at Deventer, Netherlands, to work with experts and business leaders to further develop their ideas into a joint value case. The 2019 edition features five programmes:

  • Sustainable bio-based surfactants for everyone (in partnership with Unilever): novel bio-based, non-hazardous surfactants and building blocks for new surfactants 
  • Performance-boosting nanoparticles: small-particle means to make products more sustainable, durable, and/or functional
  • Sensing in demanding chemical environments: innovative sensing systems to help Nouryon’s own chemical processes approach 100% resource efficiency
  • Label-free chemistries: products with ingredients that require no chemical warning labelling and which can safely and simultaneously control interface and fluid properties
  • Pushing the frontiers of chemical innovation: An open challenge for innovative ideas on developing more sustainable chemistry

The programme partners have also been expanded to include: Unilever; seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds; the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), which seeks to drive the commercial adoption of green chemistry; venture capital firm Icos Capital; research and advisory firm Lux Research; UK innovation agency Knowledge Transfer Network; Dutch accelerator StartupDelta; the European Commission’s Enterprise Europe Network; and S/park, the chemical technology-focused open innovation centre at Deventer.

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